PHOENIX (KSAZ) - Will the head of the Arizona Department of Public Safety have to take the stand in the freeway shooter trial? That's what attorneys for Leslie Merritt Jr., the suspect in the shootings are seeking. The case is winding its way through court, and a hearing was held Thursday.
Defense attorneys have filed a motion going after the head of DPS Frank Milstead. They want to bring him in for a deposition, saying he is a necessary witness in the case. The defense is also going after the credibility of an FBI agent who placed Merritt at the shooting scenes using GPS coordinates from his cell phone.
"We're all incredibly aware of the fear drivers have on Arizona freeways," said Col. Frank Milstead.
Milstead had held several news conferences before Merritt was arrested. According to the defense motion, Milstead changed the official timeline of the shootings after it was learned Merritt's gun was at the pawn shop during the time frame DPS had published. Last month the defense filed a motion to depose Arizona Governor Doug Ducey in this case, the judge denied that request but has not made a decision about Milstead.
"We have tremendous faith and trust in Judge Granville, we look at him as a referee, we have confidence in him, and the chips are going to fall as they may," said Jason Lamm.
DPS says it's been ordered by the court not to comment on the case. Merritt is due back in court on April 29.
"Our eyes are forward, our eyes are on the trial, and that is the direction we're moving in," said Lamm.
The trial is expected to begin on June 9. The defense plans to call around 40 witnesses to the stand; the trial is expected to take two months.